Smith County, Texas

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Smith County, Texas
Smith County, TX, Courthouse IMG 0533.JPG
Smith County Courthouse in Tyler
Seal of Smith County, Texas
Map of Texas highlighting Smith County
Location in the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location in the U.S.
Founded July 1846
Seat Tyler
Largest city Tyler
 • Total 950 sq mi (2,460 km2)
 • Land 921 sq mi (2,385 km2)
 • Water 28 sq mi (73 km2), 3.0%
 • (2010) 209,714
 • Density 228/sq mi (88/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Central: UTC-6/-5

Smith County is a county in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2010 census, its population was 209,714.[1] Its county seat is Tyler.[2] Smith County is named for James Smith, a general during the Texas Revolution.

Smith County is part of the Tyler, TX Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the Tyler-Jacksonville, TX Tyler-Jacksonville Combined Statistical Area.


Smith County veterans display, the Wall of Memories, in the Tyler plaza
Confederate States of America memorial in Tyler plaza
Korean War Memorial in Tyler plaza

The first known inhabitants of the area now known as Smith County were the Caddo Indians. In July 1846 Smith County separated from the Nacogdoches District and was named for James Smith, a General of the Texas Revolution. It was at this time that Tyler was designated as the county seat.[3]

Camp Ford was the largest Confederate Prisoner of War Camp west of the Mississippi River during the American Civil War and was where Sheriff Jim Reed of Collin County and Judge McReynolds, former chief justice of the district, were seized and lynched by "Regulators." The original site of the Camp stockade is now a public historic park, owned by Smith County, Texas, and managed by the Smith County Historical Society. The park contains a kiosk, paved trail, interpretive signage, a cabin reconstruction, and a picnic area. It is located on Highway 271, 0.8 miles north of Loop 323.

The Smith County Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1959 by individuals and business firms dedicated to discovering, collecting and preserving data, records and other items relating to the history of Smith County, Texas. More information can be found at the Smith County Historical Society Website.[4]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 950 square miles (2,500 km2), of which 921 square miles (2,390 km2) is land and 28 square miles (73 km2) (3.0%) is water.[5]

The county infrastructure includes some 1,180 miles (1,900 km) of two lane county road.

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1850 4,292
1860 13,392 212.0%
1870 16,532 23.4%
1880 21,863 32.2%
1890 28,324 29.6%
1900 37,370 31.9%
1910 41,746 11.7%
1920 46,769 12.0%
1930 53,123 13.6%
1940 69,090 30.1%
1950 74,701 8.1%
1960 86,350 15.6%
1970 97,096 12.4%
1980 128,366 32.2%
1990 151,309 17.9%
2000 174,706 15.5%
2010 209,714 20.0%
Est. 2016 225,290 [6] 7.4%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1850–2010[8] 2010–2014[1]

As of the census[9] of 2010, there were 209,714 people and 76,427 households residing in the county. The population density was 227.6 people per square mile (73/km²). There were 87,309 housing units. The racial makeup of the county was 70.1% White, 17.9% Black or African American, 0.5% American Indian and Alaska Native, 1.2% Asian, and 2.0% persons reporting two or more races. 17.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 76,427 households, out of which 34.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.8% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.7% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of a householder living alone. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.13.

The median income for a household in the county was $46,139. The per capita income for the county was $25,374. About 15.4% of families and 13.80% of the population were below the poverty line.

In the county, the population was spread out with 26.60% under the age of 18, 9.80% from 18 to 24, 27.40% from 25 to 44, 22.10% from 45 to 64, and 14.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 92.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.90 males.


Smith County is a powerfully Republican county: along with Panola and Gregg it was one of only three East Texas counties carried by Barry Goldwater in 1964. The last Democrat to carry Smith County was Harry S. Truman in 1948.[10] Although recent Republican figures do not rival the 90 percent or more common in Panhandle counties since the turn of the millennium, no Democrat has gained 30 percent of the county’s vote in the past five elections, and the last to gain over 40 percent was Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Smith County is represented in the Texas House of Representatives by Matt Schaefer (R) of Tyler and the Texas Senate by Senator Kevin Eltife (R). Its U.S. representative is Louie Gohmert (R).

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The county infrastructure includes some 1,180 miles (1,900 km) of two lane county road. 70% of these county roads were rated "bad" or "poor" in 2004. The county Commissioners Court appointed a new county engineer in 2005 and initiated an aggressive reconstruction campaign. After the election of 2006, this reconstruction campaign was cut back by the Commissioners Court. During this period a controversial pay increase for commissioners and the county judge was passed by a 3-2 vote. After heated protests from the public the pay rates were eventually rolled back and new legislation was proposed in the state legislature to prohibit commissioners and county judges from authorizing raises for themselves during their first term of office.


Twenty-eight elected officials serve Smith County citizens (County Auditor is not an elected position):

Official Function
County Judge County administration (as presiding member of the Commissioners Court) and judicial jurisdiction
Commissioners (four, one per precinct) County administration (Commissioners Court)
Sheriff Security and law enforcement
District Attorney Law enforcement and criminal prosecution
Constables (five, one per precinct) Law enforcement
Justices of the Peace (five, one per precinct) Judicial/Legal jurisdiction
District Clerk Judicial support to district courts
County Clerk Clerk of record for the county
County Tax Assessor-Collector Collector of property taxes and special fees
County Treasurer County’s chief banker
County Court at Law Judges (three) Judicial/Legal jurisdiction
District Judges (four) Judicial/Legal jurisdiction


The following school districts serve school-age children in Smith County:

Those wishing to attend institutions of higher learning in the area can attend:


Smith County is part of the Tyler/Longview/Jacksonville DMA. Local media outlets are: KLTV, KTRE-TV, KYTX-TV, KFXK-TV, KCEB-TV, and KETK-TV.

KTBB, an AM radio station based in Tyler, provides a news-talk format to the area.

The daily Tyler Morning Telegraph is the primary newspaper in the county, based in Tyler. Coverage of the area can also be found in the Longview News-Journal, published in Longview, in Gregg County.




Census-designated place[edit]

Unincorporated communities[edit]

Ghost towns[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Texas State Historical Association Online. "Smith County". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 7 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "To discover, collect and preserve the history of Smith County". Smith County Historical Society. Retrieved 2015-08-15. 
  5. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017. 
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 10, 2015. 
  9. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  10. ^ The Political Graveyard; Smith County, Texas

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 32°23′N 95°16′W / 32.38°N 95.27°W / 32.38; -95.27